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Jailed Uzbek Sports Journalist Won't Appeal Conviction

Khairullo Khamidov
Khairullo Khamidov
The mother of jailed Uzbek sports journalist Khairulla Khamidov says he will not appeal his conviction to a higher court, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Khamidov's mother, Muqaddas Khamidova, told RFE/RL that her son told her of his decision during a visit at a Tashkent prison earlier this month. She said he told her there was no hope for an appeal to be successful and that he had therefore decided against it.

Khamidov's mother added that her son is in satisfactory condition and that all family members can meet with him individually. She said that he is due to be transferred to another jail soon.

Meanwhile, Surat Ikromov, a leader of the Independent Group for Human Rights Defenders, told RFE/RL that appeals by people found guilty under Article 244 of the Criminal Code -- establishment and participation in religious extremist groups -- are rarely ever successful. But he added that he thinks Khamidov should still file an appeal.

A court in the town of Gulbakhor, outside of Tashkent, sentenced Khamidov in May to six years in prison after finding him and 18 others guilty of being members of the banned extremist Islamic group Jihadchilar (Jihadists).

Khamidov, 34, is well-known in Uzbekistan for a popular Islamic radio program he hosted, his work as a soccer commentator, and his poetry. His arrest in January sparked a strong wave of protests in Uzbekistan.